Kinnaird prefers Bordsen to fill seat

Aug. 22, 2013 @ 05:00 PM

Ellie Kinnaird has been a little surprised by the emergence of what she regards as full-blown political campaigns by those interested in filling the state Senate seat she vacated on Monday.

Kinnaird said the appointment process has turned into a political primary instead of one in which interested Democrats simply make recommendations to the 23rd Senatorial District Executive Committee, which will pick the replacement.   

“This is not supposed to be a primary,” Kinnaird said in an interview Thursday. “No one should be endorsing anyone.”

State Rep. Valerie Foushee announced her desire for the appointment in a news release on Wednesday that included endorsements from State Rep. Deb McManus, Orange County Commissioners Earl McKee and Bernadette Pelissier, Chapel Hill Town Councilman Lee Storrow, Carrboro Alderwoman Michelle Johnson and the entire Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board.

Foushee previously served on the Orange County Board of Commissioners and CHCCS board.  

Kinnaird, making a distinction between recommending and endorsing, said that she will recommend Alice Bordsen, a former state representative from Mebane, to complete the remainder of her term, which ends in 2014.

Bordsen spent 10 years in the House representing Alamance County in District 63. Unhappy with Republican-controlled redistricting, she did not seek reelection in 2012.

Kinnaird said that she believes someone with previous legislative experience would be best to finish her term.

She said Bordsen is “infinitely qualified” to fill the vacancy.

“I’m recommending Alice [Bordsen] because of her ability to work in the legislative setting,” Kinnaird said.                   

Including Bordsen and Foushee, at least four people have said they would seek appointment to the vacant Senate District 23, which spans Orange and Chatham counties.

The other two who emerged Wednesday included Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, who is not seeking reelection, and author and small business owner Amy Tiemann.

Kinnaird resigned Monday in her ninth term, citing frustration with the Republican majority in the General Assembly that she contends is rolling back many hard-won progressive measures.

She said she plans to advocate for citizens from outside her former perch in the state Senate and work to ensure everyone has proper identification so that they won’t be denied the right to vote as a result of the state’s newly adopted Voter ID laws.

Kinnaird has said that she wants to see a woman replace her in the Senate.

Matt Hughes, chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, said Kinnaird’s replacement would likely be named no more than 30 days after her resignation.

A four-member district committee of the Democratic Party made up of two members each from Chatham and Orange counties will appoint a replacement to complete the remainder of Kinnaird’s term, which expires next year.

Committee members will have one vote for every 300 residents, giving Orange County about two-thirds of the votes in the selection process.